I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Fubuki Koshiji -- Last Dance wa Watashi ni(ラストダンスは私に)

I've mentioned before that my years graduating from embryo-hood were spent listening to a mix of enka/Mood Kayo and American standards. The latter was mostly supplied by a group of 5 LPs by RCA Victor that probably came with the huge massive stereo that my Dad had bought decades ago. One of the tracks from that collection is the above "September Song" by the Ames Brothers. I've heard that the usual delivery of the song is one of wistful sadness but I've always preferred this swinging energized take.

But then some years later, George Lucas introduced us to his 1973 "American Graffiti" and with it, an amazing soundtrack of some of the rock n' roll from yesteryear. Along with Bill Haley & His Comets' iconic "Rock Around The Clock", my other favourite song from the album was Del Shannon's cool-as-heck "Runaway". I really enjoyed that boss sax and the Musitron solo. It was only two minutes-and-change long but what a ride.

Of course, probably because of the success of "American Graffiti", a lot of those K-Tel LP's that were hawked about on commercials were based on the music of the 1950s and 1960s. So in the years before disco briefly took hold, I got to know some more of the hits from those days. One song was the classic "Save The Last Dance For Me" by The Drifters, originally created by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman back in 1960. It was a No. 1 hit on Billboard and I will always remember it for that thrilling string solo near the end. This was another short tune but has continued to pack so much fun for me.

"Save The Last Dance For Me" was not lost on Japanese ears either, and in an age when covers of those American and British classics were plentiful, The Drifters' hit was also converted into Japanese to become "Last Dance wa Watashi ni" in November 1961. Given Japanese lyrics by Tokiko Iwatani(岩谷時子)and performed by chanson singer Fubuki Koshiji(越路吹雪), I'm not sure what the original recorded version was like, but on the 1963 Kohaku Utagassen, the vivacious Koshiji gave it more of an old-fashioned Latin jazz edge. She had also performed it a couple of years earlier on that Kohaku Utagassen.

Looks like the above is an updated version with a more laidback feeling to it.

Of course, being a standard, other singers have had their chance to try "Last Dance wa Watashi ni" on for size as well. For example, Akina Nakamori(中森明菜)gave her version along with Masaharu Fukuyama(福山雅治)who provided a snazzy blues flavour. His cover was recorded on a June 2002 release, "Fukuyama Engineering Soundtrack ~ The Golden Oldies"(「福山エンヂニヤリング」サウンドトラック The Golden Oldies)which peaked at No. 2 and ended up as the 25th-ranked album for the year.

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